WILMINGTON — Wilmington College will begin its second 150 years in January with Dr. Trevor M. Bates as its 19th president. He described the opportunity as “the greatest honor of my professional life.”
The Board of Trustees announced Wednesday the successful completion of WC’s presidential search by naming Bates, the chief academic officer at Mercy College of Ohio, to lead the College into the future. He will succeed Dr. Jim Reynolds, who was president from 2011 through this past June, and Dr. Erika Goodwin, who has served in the interim position since early summer.
Board Chair Peggy Sturdivant expressed her “elation” with the board’s decision.
“Dr. Trevor Bates initially impressed us with the breadth and depth of his education and professional experience, but it was the sincerity, candor and strong belief in our Quaker values evident in his interaction with the board and other College constituencies that really won us over,” Sturdivant said, noting she was “thrilled” with the slate of qualified candidates who expressed interest in pursuing the position.
“Trevor has a special gift for connecting with people and building collaboration, which have contributed to his success in higher education,” she added. “The announcement of Trevor Bates as Wilmington College’s next president makes this sesquicentennial year of 2020 all the more monumental.”
Bates said he was originally attracted to WC’s open presidency when reflecting upon his own experience as a graduate of a small, private, NCAA D-III institution in a rural area.
“I understand the transformational impact that a Wilmington College can have on students,” he said. “It is the type of institution I have dedicated my professional life of service to. My wife, Kassandra, and I thought the College could be an excellent fit for our family — and we were right!”
He also is impressed with the College’s mission to “educate, inspire and prepare each student for a life of success and service” and its vision for the future.
Bates recalled saying to his wife while driving home after his on-campus interview, “They are who they say they are.” The couple “felt and witnessed” the Quaker values as demonstrated from the students, faculty, staff and trustees with whom they interacted. “We felt welcome in the morning and, by the end of the day, we felt at home.”
Bates looks forward to starting his presidency with the spring semester set to begin in January.
“Kassandra and I are excited to partner with the campus, local and entire Wilmington College Quaker community on an exciting journey together, ‘not by a leap but by many steps,’ (College motto) to help Wilmington College continue to rise!”
Richard Sidwell, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, led the Presidential Search Committee. He commended the “focused collaboration” of the committee, which included representation of stakeholders from across the College community, in leading to the search’s successful conclusion.
“The search process that began months ago and culminated in the hiring of Dr. Trevor Bates was another indication of the strength of the Wilmington College community, a strength that is more apparent than ever as we face these uncertain times,” Sidwell said while expressing his enthusiastic approval of Bates’ selection.
“Wilmington College begins an exciting new chapter in our mission to provide the service to our students that will help them be the problem-solvers and engaged participants in a positive future for all.”
Bates will come to Wilmington College after 20 years of progressive leadership roles at several institutions. He is completing his service as the vice president of academic affairs, dean of faculty and professor of health sciences at Mercy College of Ohio, which has campuses in Toledo and Youngstown.
He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training from Millikin University (Ill.) and earned a Master of Science in Kinesiology with a sports medicine concentration as a pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Bates has a Doctor of Health Sciences degree in leadership and organizational behavior from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences in Kirksville, Mo., and is currently engaged in post-doctoral studies with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education — Institute for Educational Management.
During his professional career, Bates has served in leadership roles as a clinician, faculty member, clinical education coordinator, program director, department chair, dean and vice president.
Serving as the chief academic officer and accreditation liaison officer to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Bates led Mercy College of Ohio through an HLC reaffirmation of accreditation visit in 2019 resulting in the College receiving 10 years continuing accreditation. He has also led the College through eight specialized program accreditation visits and several state and regional new program development processes.
Bates’ leadership in new program development has contributed to a 30 percent increase in enrollment in previously under-enrolled programs at Mercy College. The institution celebrated its highest ever recorded enrollment in 2018. He worked closely with the president and the Mercy Health Foundation – Greater Toledo to help the College receive the largest gifts in its history.
Prior to coming to Mercy College of Ohio in 2017, Bates served for 10 years at Heidelberg University, where he was the founding associate dean of the Division of Health Sciences, chair and director of athletic training, with rank of associate professor.
Outside of higher education, professionally, Bates currently chairs the Athletic Training Section as a joint board member of the State of Ohio’s Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board and serves as vice president of the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association (GLATA). He is a member of the Board of Directors (treasurer) for United Church Homes (UCH) and UCH Management and also serves as a senior adviser for T.R.U.E. Empowering, a consulting firm led by his eldest brother, Dr. Tyrone M. Bates, Jr.
Among the special recognition Bates has received throughout his career, his peers honored him in 2020 with the GLATA Dedicated Service Award for contributing to his profession at the state, regional and national levels. As a clinician, Bates has provided athletic training services for patients in physician practices, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, sports enhancement centers, college/university athletics and an array of special events including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Bates, who describes himself as “a person of strong Christian faith,” is a lifetime Midwesterner, having lived in Chicago (native) and Kansas City, Kan., and spent the past 14 years in Ohio. He is the second oldest of eight siblings and is a former athlete (wrestler and distance runner).
He is married to Kassandra Bates, a utilization management case manager at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The couple looks forward to moving to Wilmington with their two sons, Ethan (14) and Liam (4).